The unique amber sound of the Orchestra has originated in a unique place at the Baltic Sea – in Liepāja.
On Sunday, 16 March at 6 p.m. the 27th Liepāja International Stars Festival will close with the rarely performed monumental oratorio “The Dream of Gerontius” by the classic of English music Edward Elgar. The concert will feature Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and State Choir “Latvija” with Estonian conductor Risto Joost – one of the brightest young conductors of his generation – on the conductor’s podium. The soloists will be local base-baritone Rihards Mačanovskis, Estonian mezzo-soprano Tuuri Dede, and Scottish tenor Mark Wilde.
Oratorio “The Dream of Gerontius” by Edward Elgar, composed for the Birmingham festival, is regarded as his masterpiece. Elgar is one of the most prominent personalities of English music between the 19th and 20th centuries, thanks to whose international acclaim the United Kingdom regained its reputation in European classical music.
“The Dream of Gerontius” was written to text from the poem by Cardinal John Henry Newman about the journey of a pious man's soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory. The composer wrote: “The idea of the poem is universal and at the same time so personal that it touches each of us.”
The monumental opus has been rarely performed not only in Latvia but also in the world. It was performed by Choir “Latvija” and Liepāja Symphony Orchestra in 2000 – the hundredth anniversary of the work been written. This is what Uldis Lipskis, director of Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, says about the coming concert: “It will be performed by bright stars! Not many choirs have been so highly rated as State Choir “Latvija”. The choir has been invited to perform at most prominent festivals and concert halls in Europe, America and in the world. It will be an honour for us and pleasure for the audience to discover the power and acoustics of Liepāja Concert Hall “GREAT AMBER” that had been acoustically designed for performances of such scale – for concerts with a big choir in the balcony, full-size orchestra and soloists.”
The young and already famous Estonian conductor Risto Joost adds another special feature to the concert. He has conducted a number of renowned orchestras in Europe and Asia. This will be his first performance in “GREAT AMBER”.
“The Dream of Gerontius” is one of the finest British oratorios. Its harmonious and powerful choral parts and masterful parts for solo fully convey the outstanding tradition of British choir, which includes Handel’s oratorio “Messiah” and Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”. I am truly moved by the opportunity after so many years to perform once again with Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, and even more so, to do it for the first time in “GREAT AMBER,“ says conductor Risto Joost.
Mezzo-soprano Tuuri Dede from Estonia, young soloist who has already won acclaim, as well as the renowned soloist tenor Mark Wilde from Scotland, will also perform in Liepāja Concert Hall for the first time.
The 27th Liepāja International Stars Festival, founded by Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, will take place from 9‒16 March at the orchestra residency – Liepāja Concert Hall “GREAT AMBER”. During two weekends there will be five excellent concerts featuring the performances of Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, world famous cellist Mischa Maisky, talented pianist Vestards Šimkus, outstanding Estonian conductor Risto Joost, Chamber Orchestra “Sinfonietta Riga”, State Choir “Latvija”, as well as many other stars.
The Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Latvian Cultural Capital Foundation, Liepāja City Council, Cultural Department of Liepāja City Council, “Latvenergo” Ltd., Embassy of Denmark in Latvia and Danish Cultural Institute. Tickets to the festival concerts can be purchased at all Box Offices of “Biļešu paradīze” and at www.bilesuparadize.lv.